It’s time. Out with the old and in with the new.
I had procrastinated long enough, hoping to get a new composter in time to still salvage what was left of last year’s old growth in my flower garden, with the dream of turning it into sweet black compost to use this spring. You can read more about my indecision about composters here. But today, with the sun shining warmly, short sleeves rolled up, and the first sweat of this spring trickling down my brow, I knew that today I had to do some serious spring cleaning in my garden.
All winter, they stood like statues. Like beautiful, blooming memories that were cemented purposefully in my garden, as if trying to prove that they really did bloom last summer in profusion. Only with the casting process of fall and winter, their green life had been stolen, their blooms hardened into black, brittle seed pods, their summer beauty lost to only the remaining brown sticks and stems.
Their once-fluttering leaves lay sadly in the ground below them, thick rugs of decomposing, blackish muck. Nepeta “Walker’s Low” catmint was strung out in a thick mat upon the ground, its bunches of green mint-like leaves and tiny lavender blooms only a distant memory now.
There were the tender annuals, planted carefully that bloomed unrelentlessly all summer. My beloved Gomphrena “Fireworks” was a favorite. When I picked it up from the nursery, its tag said it would grow to a height of 36”! So astonished with this info on its tag, I even asked the nursery’s owner if that must be a mistake. It turned out, it wasn’t and it bloomed all summer in explosions of pink fireworks 3 feet above my garden bed.
And there were the trusty old standby’s, clumps of coneflowers and black eyed susans, standing tall, with only seed pods left upon their thick stems. Fuzzy lamb’s ears had been diminished, shrunken down tight upon the soil in wilted, wet, grayish green layers of leaves, all former fuzziness disappeared. They appeared stuck in a wet embrace with the ground, suctioned tight by the forces of gravity, moisture and once heavy snow atop.
Today, it was time to go out with the old and let the new have a fighting chance in my garden. I pruned, pulled, trimmed and cut back all the old foliage that reminded me of last year’s garden. My new sprouts need a fresh slate, without the constrictions and remnants of last summer to bend their growth, inhibit their new shoots or block the sun’s warm light. My garden needed a fresh new start, with room to grow.
We all need a little spring cleaning here and there. A time to say goodbye to the past, its memories, its promises and its regrets. To create for ourselves a little hope in our gardens of life, that we can start over every season, every year and even every day. Pull back the old vines and weeds that are holding you back from growth, yank them out of the thawing soil and give your new dreams and aspirations a chance to sprout, to spring to life and to grow into something bigger than you could have ever imagined.
After I cut all the old growth out of my garden today, I was amazed with what is already beginning to sprout again. Yet, it took my trimming, pulling and cleaning to reveal that my old perennial friends are still there, beneath the rubbish and leaves of last summer, ready to spring forth with growth again this year. My hardy geranium “Orion” had new green leaves just barely peeking out from its clump. I was surprised to see my tall, purple alliums had also poked their noses up out of the soil for some fresh air. Even my Helenium “Mardi Gras” had a few delicate maroon leaves just barely visible. But I had to get rid of the old to see the new and appreciate the journey it is just beginning.
What will you find as you begin a little spring cleaning yourself? You may find your dreams are already sprouting, they were just hidden within all the old surrounding them. So pull back your fears and failings, your past goals and desires and give in to the new dreams that you have for yourself. I think you’ll find they may be well on their way, all they need is a little spring sunshine, some room to grow and a gardener tending to your perennial garden of life.